Gasp! by Z.A. Maxfield

GASP

Gasp! by Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (265 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Cross-dressing
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Jeff Paxton came home from Afghanistan looking to put down roots. Instead his pregnant sister talks him into a job babysitting the volatile megastar Nigel Gasp. Nigel is stubborn, needy, and determined to be the center of attention everywhere he goes. Before long, Jeff realizes that something is bothering Gasp, and that keeping him out of trouble might be more difficult than he thought.

Nigel never planned on getting old. He simply assumed a hard drinking, hard partying lifestyle would take care of that. Now that he’s turning forty, he’s depressed and a little bit desperate. To Nigel, forty seems like a fine age to deposit his DNA and check out while he’s still on top.

The last thing Jeff needs is to fall in love with Nigel Gasp. The last thing Nigel expects is a whole new reason to live. But how can Jeff put down roots with a man who is never in the same place twice?

Love can be shocking. Gasp!

Nigel thought he’d completed his bucket list, but he forgot “fall in love” was the most important. At forty, Nigel Gasp figured his life was pretty much over. He’d done everything he could think of, and probably more he never should have attempted, he’d accomplished everything professionally he could ever dream about and he assumed it was time to go out in a blaze of glory. He didn’t count on a military vet and his family disrupting Nigel’s plans and his very life. Jeff and his overbearing but loving family would change the very person Nigel had always presented to the world. However, Nigel Gasp wasn’t succumbing without a fight.

Gasp! is a fun rock star themed story. It stars Nigel Gasp as an almost forty rocker who figures he has nothing left in the world to want, do, or need. He forgot he’d never really been in love. Enter Jeff, a recently out of the military veteran trying to find his place in the world again. The two are like oil and water to start but soon find out their attraction is mutual. They ease the world weariness in each other. They offer comfort and strength in the most unusual places. The two men may seem like total opposites but they compliment each other even as they butt heads. Since they both have strong personalities their love won’t be easy and that’s definitely tested within the bounds of the story.

The characters get more and more interesting as the story progresses. They make mistakes and struggle but it makes their eventual happy ending more satisfying. I like that Jeff and his family allows Nigel to really belong and experience a new kind of family and love. Nigel does a bit of cross-dressing but it’s a relatively minor point and it does add to the complexity of the character. I think the twist (though it’s not much of a twist) about the sister’s baby is interesting. I wasn’t sure why the couple would make that choice in regards to Nigel considering his actions and personality at the time. Likewise I wasn’t sure why Jeff would insist on some of the choices he does. His reasons make sense but he comes across as inflexible and unwilling to make any compromises.

These are minor issues though as the romance between Nigel and Jeff is littered with small laughs and quiet moments. It’s more intimate than you’d expect given Nigel’s profession. The writing does a great job of showing how two very different men fit together so seamlessly. The story does stumble in a few places but I found there to be more things I liked about it than disliked. It’s a story that makes you want to keep turning the pages to figure out how they’ll be happy. For fans of the author, I think most will quite enjoy this one. For anyone new, it’s a great entry into the writing style and tone of this author.

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